It’s been a very encouraging start to the jumps season for Potter Group because all our runners have put up excellent performances including Sir Valentine who ran a fantastic race to finish second to the very high class Fusil Raffles on his Chase debut at Cheltenham last Friday. His trainer, Nigel Twiston-Davies, was absolutely delighted, and he was right to be bearing in mind that was his first run of the season (the horse, not Nigel – have you seen him run?) and to put in a near faultless display of jumping around Cheltenham’s daunting fences is no mean feat and Sam (Twiston-Davies) was equally full of praise and excitement after the race and assures us he’s a horse with a very bright future over the larger obstacles. There are plenty of options available and we look forward to seeing how far up the chasing ladder he can go. Our Power gave us a great thrill in the Handicap Hurdle and coming down the hill looked the likely winner but fitness may have just taken its toll ever so slightly and he ended up finishing sixth to a potentially well handicapped horse in the shape of Captain Tom Cat. That run will have blown the cobwebs away and the plan was to go chasing straight away but on the evidence of that run, there could easily be another valuable hurdle race in him so we may have a crack at another prize over timber before tackling the larger obstacles.
While we’re on the subject of Potter Group runners, you couldn’t help but feel sympathy and frustration for Galileo Silver who ran a mighty race at Chepstow on Tuesday when he finished a narrow second on his first start over three miles (2m 7f 131yards to be precise). After making every single yard of the running under Dickie Johnson, the son of, do you really need me to say? got quite badly hampered by the eventual winner, Spectator, who hung into our runner all the way along the home straight. Whether it affected the result, we’ll never know, and the Stewards did call an inquiry but the result stood and we had to take it on the chin. Whatever the outcome, he lost absolutely nothing in defeat while giving 5lbs to the winner and with a bit of luck the handicapper won’t be too harsh going forward. Sam Thomas reports the horse to be absolutely A1 this morning which is the most important thing and after two seconds in a row, surely his next run will be a case of third time lucky!
Potter Group director James Potter attended Cheltenham on Friday and wanted to express his thanks to the team at Prestbury Park for their excellent efforts in making sure all owners were able to enjoy the best experience possible in these extraordinary times. There’s no denying it was an extremely different and unusual feel walking into the track to the sound and atmosphere of, well, nothing but we can’t do anything about it so have to suck it up and hope racegoers will soon be allowed on track and things can slowly but surely get back to some kind of normality. You don’t need me to tell you how big an area Cheltenham is and if any course can accommodate larger crowds outside in a safe environment, the home of jump racing is just the place to do it. In a way it was a bit like going into a massive concert hall and listening to the sound check bellowing around the empty arena before the audience arrive, only on this occasion, the audience never actually does arrive and you’re left with the hollow echoes of the commentator’s dulcet tones reverberating around Cleeve Hill as runners battle it out up the famous Cheltenham hill without the spine tingling cheers of 60,000 race fans.
It’s such a shame and in some instances you wonder what the logic actually is, but we’re not scientists or politicians so presumably there must be some method to their ‘madness’.
There are currently no Potter Group horses entered up but Equus Millar has been declared for James and Jean Potter in the two mile Handicap Chase at Wetherby on Friday (3:20) for Nigel Twiston-Davies and Nicky Henderson has put Mister Fisher in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on November 14th. He’s also owned exclusively by Mr & Mrs Potter and was last seen putting up a fine performance in the Marsh Novices’ Chase at the Festival when 4th to Samcro. He’s not certain to take his chance, as he is highly likely to be close to the top of the weights, but if he does line up, Henderson says he’ll have a much clearer idea of what route to take for the rest of the season but the Ryanair Chase would seem the most logical target at this stage.
Oh yes, just before we sign off for another week; I wonder if you’ve heard the story about the runaway racehorse? It’s a terrible tale of WHOA…😉